The Peters Township School Board is about to make a serious decision regarding a curriculum on human growth and development at the middle school level. Having known Mary Jo Podgurski professionally and the programs she has developed for middle and high school students through the Washington Hospital Teen Outreach Program, it is puzzling to watch and to read about the reactions of a “small” group of parents opposed to this type of instruction.
We all believe that parents are on the front line in the development of their children. Most do well. Many do not, and need professional assistance with certain topics they find awkward to discuss with their children. Once a program such as this is instituted, both parents and children appreciate the instruction offered. These classes are not offensive, do not promote sexual promiscuity and do not divert children from their religious upbringing or values.
The meeting held Monday evening was full of slanderous comments backed by misinformation, character assassination and questionable conduct from the “adults” in the audience. It is admirable to have open dialogue about issues and it is an individual’s right to disagree, but one need not be disagreeable to the point of character assassination.
The opposition to Podgurski was obviously well planned. The parent group had their “facts,” the media was contacted and the witch hunt began. Was the media reporting fair and balanced? I think not. No one supporting these programs appeared on the evening news. The Observer-Reporter, to its credit, reported both sides of the issue. The seeming public response to this issue was one-sided and anyone supporting the program was met with groans and jeers. What type of example does this set for your children?
It will be interesting to watch the school board and how they react to all of this. Will the few dissenters overwhelm the board, or will the board do what is best for the majority of the community? Remember – you can disagree and opt-out, but your stance and demeanor does not reflect the beliefs of thousands who have benefited from this program.
William D. Price
Sex ed classes not offensive